- Anne-Marie Mougeot
Who Decided There is a "Good" and "Bad" Posture Anyway?
Updated: Feb 5, 2022
“𝘐 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘣𝘢𝘥 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦” is something I hear all the time, often attributed as the reason many people have been led to believe for their pain.
𝗧𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝗹𝗼𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝘂𝗻𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝗮𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗶𝗻𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗽𝗼𝘀𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where the notion of “good posture” comes from. In my personal experience, it all dates back to childhood ballet classes where we were taught to 𝘸𝘢𝘭𝘬 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘱𝘰𝘪𝘴𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘨𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦, to hold our shoulders back and head tall (oh, and 𝘴𝘶𝘤𝘬 𝘪𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘵𝘶𝘮𝘮𝘺! – more on that to come in future posts).
💃 Although dance and sport have their own forms of posture training, the history of posture dates even further back to the development of military drill formation in the 16-17th centuries and carried forward to the social morality and medicalization of primitive posture which was used to separate 'primitive' from 'advanced' peoples and the 'ill' from the 'healthy.
Posture eventually became the focus of early physiotherapy and chiropractic with many traditional osteopathic texts also making reference to the requirement for the body to be in “good alignment” in order for the body’s structures to function optimally.
The history of posture is an interesting one and what many might find to be disturbing (read: patriarchal and racist) practices. See my Instagram post below for more on the history of posture.